“The idea is not to increase divisions, but reduce alienation,” is Uday Aghamarshan’s message, his answer to what must be the biggest question on our readers’ minds concerning the newly formed Technology Telugu Dramatics Society (TTDS): what is the motive behind this venture?
The majority of the substantial Telugu population on campus does not speak English fluently and has scant knowledge of Hindi, which Uday believes leads to a limited participation in literary and dramatics based events. Clearing the language barrier and refining an accent acquired over a long period, even if accomplished, takes long enough for the students to miss out on being part of dramatics societies in their early years on campus (ETDS conducts auditions only for first years). Such a lack of cultural opportunity leads, in many cases, to a confined life.
Acting and performing is, however, not new to the crowd. The huge movie industry apart, there are a good deal of quality Telugu plays to enact, says Uday, who has experience in professional dramatics. Skits had been held previously on a small scale at gatherings of the Telugu Cultural Association (TCA) and it was with the intention of “not just dramatics, but building confidence” that notices for auditions were put up. A whopping 225 people turned up for the auditions.
The governors include Uday himself (he’s captain of Patel dramatics), Sri Nitya Anupindi (who’s in HTDS as well) and Om Namassivaya, who co-ordinates activities. Prof. G.P. Raja Sekhar of Mathematics lends them valuable support. A workshop has already been conducted for the 48 selected first and second year students, with inputs from ETDS and HTDS members. Presently, the source of funds is the interest generated upon contributions by members of the TCA. They’ve submitted an application (to be reviewed soon) so as to be recognized by the Gymkhana to lend gravity to the society. “It must be a sustainable activity and not seem like a temporary effort.”
But will developing a society where Telugus interact with only each other allow them to open up to the rest of the population? “I’d be happy to get 20% students out of their rooms and give them an opportunity to be more social and outgoing. My philosophy is not to make it a core Telugu society, and it is up to the future governors to keep it this way.” Two productions are planned for this year: one in mid-January and another in March. We’ll be there to cover them.